Koch asked me in a comment to replicate an experiment done in 1950 by Helen A Crumley et al demonstrating Tobacco seed growth in deuterium oxide (D2O). The experiment is rather simple (and the figure from the paper is shown below) as Crumley placed 100 seeds in differing amounts of D2O (double distilled water, 33%, 66%, and 99.8% D2O) and analyzed the growth.
So here I am planning the experiment. I will change some things from their experiment. First they placed the seeds on wet cloths (paper towels?), and I will submerge the seeds in the water amounts they used. They also used a variety of plant species (tobacco, clover, radish, Kentucky bluegrass), where I will just use tobacco seeds (but I will try two different species). Finally they talk about their results in terms of percent germination, but it isn’t clear from the paper if they mean number of plants that have exhibited germination, or if they are referring to some amount of growth exhibited by each plant. I will look for both possibilities and report the results as I find them.
In a preliminary experiment I will submerge the plants in water in petri dishes and seal it with parafilm. I will be looking into a more airtight solution as time goes on. I also won’t do 100 seeds but probably on the order of 33 seeds per sample. And in the future I will look into figuring out a way to measure the seed growth.
Bill Hooker suggested (and rightly so!) that I document what I consider to be typical specimens. I found, today that the zoom feature on the webcam I’m using is quite sufficient for getting close enough to demonstrate this and so I snapped a picture and tried to document. Powerpoint messed me up a little bit, but this is good enough.
The orange box is highlighting a seed that is showing no signs of germination. From my studies I’ve found that the the seed coat becomes slightly transparent just before radicle (the pre root) penetration and you can see the precursor to puncture. The seed coat usually gets lighter too and in this case is really dark in color.
The pink box (hehe) is what I would count as germination when I’m counting the seeds. I see the tip of the radicle penetrating the seed coat and so germination is officially underway.
In the very near dead center of the image is a seed that has what I referred to in an earlier post as an extended radicle. Basically I meant that the radicle was pushed through and the root is now forming. The root will continue to grow until the seed coat has come off, which over to the right it has (there is a green leaf that is cropped on the edge of the image).
I’m going to start naming this series RC2: Day X so it’s a little shorter for me to type out. Notice there are two new samples to keep track of. I’m doing percentages of D2O in both DI water and deuterium depleted water.
Post about setup is coming soon and so will the live results page.
It should be noted that I shifted all the seeds around in most of the samples so there was a decent distribution in the center of the sample as opposed to being near the edges and near the meniscus. Hopefully everything will remain like this and I won’t have to ever touch the samples for the next 10 days.
I haven’t had much time to study these pictures, but from quick observations it looks like the seeds in 33% d2o mixed with ddw are sprouting before the seeds in 33% d2o mixed with di water. Another interesting thing to note is the seeds in pure di water are sprouting slowly. I’m hoping that my use of nail polish to seal the analyslides hasn’t ruined the experiment.